Clinic facilities

New children’s autism clinic opens in Urbandale

URBANDALE, Iowa — Autism affects one in four children nationwide, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Now those on the Iowa spectrum have a new option to thrive with their differences.

On Wednesday, Caravel Autism Health cut the ribbon for its autism therapy clinic in Urbandale. The location is Caravel’s second in the metro and fourth in the state.

The therapy center will focus on educating children on the spectrum in a way appropriate to their conditions.

“The game is their job. It’s about learning new communication skills and new social skills,” said Jessica Crawford of Caravel Autism Health. “They’ll come in and play with toys, be with peers and practice those skills.”

Merriam Webster defines autism as “a variable developmental disorder that appears at the age of three years and is mainly characterized by difficulties in forming and maintaining social relationships”.

Crawford said the signs of autism have become more widely known over the past decade. She thinks increasing parental awareness of the disease helps children get the care they need earlier in life.

“Thinking back to ten years ago, services were really hard to come by,” Crawford said. “There were very few providers in the state and to see that there is so much more accessibility to services has been huge.”

Caravel also has facilities in Ankeny, Iowa City and Davenport.